Saturday, October 28, 2006

Thoughts on Pressing...

Back in April, during my initial Z-Health assessment, we discovered that my dominant eye pattern was looking up. I initiated all movement by looking up--probably from 10 years of looking up for 0-lifting. So, to correct that visual disturbance, I started looking down during all movements, which interestingly, was something I had started playing with on my squat after noticing that's how former heavyweight world champion Yuri Vlasov squatted.

The interesting phenomenon was during pressing, the bell/bar went up easier while looking down--but I had always been taught to look up. I noticed the same thing with my KB snatches--looking at the floor actually made them easier.

Neurologically, eye postioning is known to correspond with certain body movements: eyes down-flexion; eyes up-extension. So why does looking down while pressing feel easier? Here's my theory: The dominant movement while pressing is shoulder flexion. Even though elbow extension is involved, it is not the dominant movement: it is secondary. Since April, I've also paid a lot more attention to the jerks of the elite 0-lifters. They look down as they drive the bar overhead and as it is fixed at arms' length. This is especially true of the Chinese who are quickly coming to dominate the sport.

I wonder if this is a universal truism or just what works for some. Only time and experimentation will tell.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is very interesting to me as I grew up looking down with all my gymnastics training. you are ALWAYS looking at the floor or you feet in in gymnastics.
and as gymnastics is mainly flexion this also corresponds to what you said as far as eye postioning.

I could NEVER squat worth beans looking up no matter how hard I tried. I ended up looking straight ahead for my best squat but I was way more confortable, and stronger ,looking down.
This was also the case with my dl.

and all the running I did, especially the trail running encouraged looking down.

I spoke with Pavel about this and he said there are basically TWO extension mechanisms
1) quads and erectors
2) glutes and erectors

when you look down you activate the quads as the starting mechanism. when you look up, it's the hip extensors.

Nick didnt start squatting for beans until he dropped his gaze.I also press more easily with my head down.

Just think about the head position and eye gaze you have when you walk.I thought about that position when I squatted.

good stuff.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Geoff Neupert said...

Quads and Erectors AND
Glutes and Erectors...


That explains why my squat feels better looking down, but not my press.

Any thoughts on that, Rif?

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as I recall my conversation with Pavel he was talking about when the mechanism is quad and erectors the erectors are used less as a static stabilizer than an actual prime mover.

it could be that with the press looking down doesnt create enough spinal stabilzation for the shoulder flexion mechanism to work optimally. although I press more easily ovehead looking down as well. It could also be correlated to shoulder flexiblity. I have better shoulder flexibility looking down, whereas you, with all your jerk training, have it with the head in neutral or looking up. just some thoughts,I will ask pavel.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Geoff Neupert said...

Perhaps, I should elaborate: What I MEANT to say is, Pavel's explantaion makes sense in light of my experiece squatting, but not my pressing. I too actually feel stronger looking down on the press.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gotcha, I bet there is another mechanism at work to explain this.

3:16 PM  

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